Have you ever gone on a vacation to a posh resort , slept on crisp white sheets, swam in tranquil, sparkling pools and dined on sprawling verandas with sweeping views? And have returned to your perfectly nice house post vacay and found it suddenly feeling messy, outdated, and the view of the neighbor’s cluttered driveway just irritating? That’s what the discovery of intense cardio workouts were like for me. Three days a week I felt like I was indulging at the Four Seasons while on alternate days, when left to my old workout routine, I felt like I was crashing at the Motel 6. Needless to say, I’m a resort kind of gal.
I am at a point in my story, where I have documented reference points. In 2007 I began a spotty yet expletive filled habit of journaling and this has allowed me to recall my memories with more clarity, making it easier to translate them to my writing now. What pops out to me as I re read them, is how much I was emotionally struggling back then. I spent most of my journaling time either documenting the adorable antics of Dylan and Brennan or writing about my frustrations regarding my marriage. My anxiety about Marc's excessive drinking, his continued late night’s out and his increasingly long business trips found me not only feeling disconnected to Marc but also angry, and resentful, and so tired. We spent a lot of time either arguing or giving each other the cold shoulder. I was terrified that we were raising our kids in a dysfunctional environment and I didn’t want them to grow up in a chaotic, unpredictable home like the one in which I was raised. Pages and pages of writing about how, more than anything, I wanted them to feel safe, loved and happy but I didn’t know how to do that unless things changed between Marc and I. It is hard to read the fear in those pages.
I can’t find much in my journaling at that time regarding my thoughts around food and exercise (although plenty of that to come), but I can recall some of those feelings better than I can recall where I left my phone this morning. I am clear that when I was in that cardio blast class, I felt not just strong and healthy but also a sense of relief. I found comfort in the fact I had nothing else to focus on but how many burpees I could do in a minute, the sweat pouring out of my body leaving my worries and anxiety on the fitness room floor. There were days I didn’t want to leave that little room with the bad sound system and white scuffed floors, so I didn’t and usually stayed for the strengthening class right after. I suppose other moms of kinders might have taken their precious few hours of freedom and enjoyed a tantrum free grocery shop, coffee with friends or just crashed on the couch in their jammies to watch The View, while I spent hours squat jumping and planking until my body was exhausted and my mind was calm.
But alas, as it sometimes goes, the glow started to fade as the months went by and the post workout buzz started to lessen as my body got used to my amped up exercise routine exercise is similar to other drugs. But I needed that high, that relief, and I was determined to find a way to get my body humming again. And I did find a way, or rather it found me.